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Rufus Wainwright & 'Prima Donna' in the Classical Classroom

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You may know Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Rufus Wainwright as a singer-songwriter, a piano man, a dude who hangs out with Elton John and Joni Mitchell. But as it turns out, he also writes classical music and opera. In this episode, he talks about his debut opera, Prima Donna, and writing a traditional romantic opera today.

Wainwright releases the opera for the first time on audio since its 2009 premiere at the Manchester International Festival.  The recording, just released on October 2 on Deutsche Grammophon/UMC follows the live event, Prima Donna: A Symphonic Visual Concert held at the Athens Festival in Greece in September. Prima Donna's central character, a retired Diva struggling to make her return to the stage and regain her former years of greatness, was inspired by the BBC Lord Harewood interviews with Maria Callas in her later years.

Audio production for KUHA: Houston's Classical Classroom by Todd "Toddwright" Hulslander with polite claps from Dacia Clay and editing by Mark DiClaudio. All music in this episode from the opera Prima Donna, available on Deutsche Grammophon.